My job with the American Nehemiah Teams is to go and visit Nanny Teams, meaning the teams that are serving in children’s homes. It is quite a different pace then the church planting teams that I visited earlier during the Filipino summer, but I do enjoy it. But then, it is easy to love children, right?
When I arrived at the first home, the older children remembered me from last year. It is was so nice to see their faces light up simply because of the surprise of my presence. The younger ones however have a shorter memory and are in general are more skiddish around strangers.
I love children. Most women do. So, I worked at getting them comfortable with me. I used up most of the Bisaya I know, I flutter my eyes lovingly-like just like my gramomma taught me, and I put every effort I am capable of into putting that child to ease.
Hope of a New Friend
I have learned to be patient. I have learned to love on the children at a distance and let them choose to come closer. I have realized that even if children burst into tears and I have to embarrassedly retreat while listening to the adults laugh at my unsuccessful attempt that it was worth it. The rejection was worth it because of the hope of a new friend.
I will not Leave you as Orphans
If we call the creator God our father then what is it that surrounds us? Those people that still remain in darkness? What are they but orphans? Tossed around in the wind. Slaves to their own desires. Cut off from their creator father God.
I have always taken John 14:18 as figurative, and have never seen just how closely it is actually tied to the Great Commission. You see, just as Jesus is not going to leave us as orphans it is his command that we do not leave our families, our friends, our countrymen as orphans. Jesus said that in his house there are many rooms, and then he basically put the Christians to the task of filling up those rooms. He sent us a helper, the Holy Spirit, that gives power to our words, meaning to our actions, and guides us to who is ready to be brought into the family of God.
Not just children
Loving what pleases you is self-gratifying, and I admit me going to orphanages and loving on those children is fun. It is not a sacrifice. It is not a burden. It is in fact very rewarding to look down and see a child’s arms outstretched waiting to be picked up. That same child that yesterday was scared at the sight of me wants me -not just to be near me but up in my arms.
I can’t help but think that just as Jesus preached as he went, that we are suppose to love as we go…not just the big eyed children and sweet widows. But the hateful old men. The embittered woman. The rebellious teenager. That co-worker that rubs you the wrong way. The hypocrite down the pew. All the hard to love orphans that are not in a right relationship with the creator God, the Father.
It is an annoying truth that we are not only called to love the big eyed easy to love child orphans. We are called. We are commanded. ALL NATIONS. Funny, but the foundation of loving the nations is simple and starts right at home- it begins with loving your neighbor.
God is love
The irony of this lesson is how much it shocked me. I have been stingy with my love. Greedy with it as though it is my own to hand out at my own discretion. I pick and choose when I want to show love and to whom. Sometime I ignore the tug of the helper at my heart, I pretend to be busy, and I snuff out the Spirit’s voice. Why does it surprise me that God, who is Love, expects His children to be loving? Why, when I have been given so much love all my life is it so hard to give it to others? Why is it sometimes easy to act on love but not to feel it?
The Bible tells us to do good so that others can see our works and glorify out father in Heaven. Another place in Scripture it says, “I do as my Father commanded me, so that the world may know I love the Father. (John 14:31) We obey, we do good, we show love, because we are loved and because we do love the Father. Our love might be what encourages someone into a right relationship with their Father God, don’t you want to be part of that?
Love is a Sacrifice
It is easy to forget that all love requires sacrifice. True love is the constant laying down of desires, it is considering someone else above yourself. It is seeking the good of others before worrying about yourself. Remember the Bible says that there is no greater love than he who lays his life down for a friend. If we sacrifice ourselves for love laying down our own desires we will be an honest representation of Jesus’ life and death on the cross.
A dear friend of mine who was mistreated and devilishly cheated by his earthly father once said that forgiveness is a choice he makes every morning. Love and forgiveness must be sisters. Everyday is an opportunity to love your neighbor. To pray for those who have wronged you. Everyday brings a new chance to love even the incredibly hard to love.
Remember, before Christ we were alienated from God, we were his enemy –his love for us came at a great price. If we are brave enough to profess belief in a Messiah that would sacrifice himself to be in relationship with us- are we really so cowardly as to then not be able to share his love with others?
Love is meant to be lived out in the actions of God’s people. If I went in to a children’s home and did not speak to the children they would remain scared of me. They might recognize my presence but I would remain a familiar faced stranger. I would remain scary. Love moves. Your love might be what moves someone from being enemies of God to being his child. From being skiddish at the thought of a sovereign God to boldly going before the throne. From being fatherless to being the child of the only living God.
The sacrifice is worth it because of the hope of a new friend –the potential brother or sister in Christ. The sacrifice might be small and cost a few minutes of your time, it might be long and fill up your whole lifetime, or it might bring your death. But the command is clear and the choice is yours…will you obey?
Will you sacrifice for love? Every single day?